In the land of plenty, there is principle.
Every time you say “no”, there is an educational opportunity for your child. Too often parents exclaim, “Because I said so!” What does that teach your child? I can only guess that the lesson with that response is one of authority.
May I suggest we explain our “no”s?
I make sure with every “no” I give; there is an explanation that has reasoning behind it. I believe our kids are not only deserving of this, but through this process, they will build much-needed problem-solving abilities to accept “no”. How else will they develop the insight and wisdom to make their own decisions?
I want my message to be heard more than my “no”.
There are times when my kids argue with me and don’t care to accept my explanation. That’s okay. I have noticed that although most times they are mad or disappointed, they often get the “why” to the “no”. The more I take the time to explain, the more they understand and accept the answer. There are also times when they have a good argument against my “no” and I honor it, with a shift to “yes”.
It’s in these conversations that lessons are learned and principles are placed. My kids can process decisions that will help them navigate their own answers as they grow to be independent thinkers.
I already see the fruits of my labor in my children’s perspective. At the young ages of 9 and 11, they get it. That doesn’t mean they are free from greed and entitlement, as I believe that will be a constant challenge for us all. But they understand the values our family holds, and ultimately they recognize the significance of “no” fitting into that foundation. They choose reasoning over desire to make many decisions often, and I’m proud of their ability to dive beyond the impulse and often set their own limits.
I’m sure as they get older, this idea will present more challenges! I’d like to think I am building the groundwork for all decisions in my children’s lives, through taking the time to teach them the value of “no”.